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Letter From David Korten

Dear Friends:
The terrible pain and suffering caused by the terrorist atrocities of Tuesday, September 11, confirmed an important truth: There is no security for anyone-not even in America-in a world in which so many live with the dehumanizing desperation and hopelessness that lead to martyrdom as a source of meaning. No level of defense spending, no missile shield will protect us from such a threat.

This is a defining moment for America and-because of our enormous military and economic power-ultimately for the world. Americans have such a capacity to pull together in crisis. People throughout our great nation responded instantly to do whatever they could to deal with the crisis and help those in need. Now we face the question of how we will use our unity and resolve to constructive purpose in the days ahead.

Media voices draw a sharp contrast between the deeply shared values of Americans and the disregard of the terrorists for life and the rights of the innocent-and then call for America to respond in kind in denial of these very values. We should be clear that the terrorist acts of September 11 were carefully planned to provoke us to strike out at unseen enemies in a blind and self-destructive rage that will sacrifice our freedoms to the false security of a police state, deplete our treasury on armaments, destroy our international credibility by launching brutal military assaults on innocent civilians, and invite further terrorist attacks.

The vast majority of Americans do share a deep belief in the sanctity of human life, justice, and the rule of law. But they are likely to feel alone, isolated, and even fearful of appearing unpatriotic if they voice such values amidst the din of voices on the media calling for retribution. A key element of the YES! mission is to break this disempowering sense of isolation and give voice to the forces of justice, sustainability, and compassion. To this end we are urging every person we can reach to make known their commitment to the deep values that are the true foundation of America's greatness.

Yes, America must bring the perpetrators of this horrendous act to justice. We must, however, do so in a way that exemplifies the diligent respect for international law and the rights of the innocent on which we pride ourselves.

This is a moment for collective reflection on humanity's current path toward an escalating spiral of violence against one another and the earth. It is a time to recognize and come to terms with the fact that the solutions of the past are leading us into an ever deepening tragedy. Most Americans long for a world free from fear, want, and violence- a longing shared by virtually every person on the planet.

Let us embrace the opportunity created by the concern and solidarity evoked by this moment of tragedy to initiate a national dialogue on what it truly means to be an American and a global dialogue on how we might together create the world of our shared dream.

David C. Korten
Board Chair
The Positive Futures Network

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